If you are looking to straighten your teeth then you may be considering clear aligners and you may have questions about what it's like to live with clear aligners. Today, our Calgary dentists discuss life with clear aligners and what you can and can't do during treatment with them.
Things that you can do during life with clear aligners
Committing to treatment with clear aligners can create many changes in your life but there are many ways in which your daily life will remain unchanged during treatment. These are things you can do with clear aligners:
DO: Eat any of the foods you would like
Because clear aligners are removable, you can keep eating the foods you love. Unlike with braces, where you have to avoid many foods, from your favourite crunchy vegetables to pizza crust, you won’t have these restrictions with clear aligners.
DO: Ensure that you remove your clear aligners when you brush, floss, drink and eat
Being able to remove your aligners to brush, floss, drink and eat has its advantages as well as its challenges.
Because you won’t have brackets or wires to contend with, you’ll easily be able to carefully brush and floss (and get all those little food particles that can easily lead to bacteria that get stuck between your teeth and your aligners). You can (and should) also take your aligners out to eat or drink anything other than water.
But, you must fit your meals into the two hours of time that you can have your aligners off each day. Because they need to be worn for 22 hours every day, you’ll soon be scheduling your meal times, cutting back on snacking, and brushing like a pro.
DO: Drink plenty of water while you are wearing your clear aligners
Though you shouldn’t eat or drink coloured food or beverages while wearing your clear aligners, water is important to drink and allowed while wearing clear aligners. This is important as hydration is necessary for our health, and also because clear aligners can make some patients salivate excessively.
DO: Change to your next set of aligners before going to sleep
You may feel some minor discomfort for the first day or two when you switch to a new set of aligners, as your teeth shift positions.
While this is totally normal, it can still be annoying. One way to address this is to switch to your next set of clear aligners before going to bed for the night, so you’ll sleep away those first few hours.
Things that you can't do during life with clear aligners
There are a few changes and adjustments you'll have to make to your daily life during your clear aligner treatment. Here are a few little things you can't do with clear aligners:
DON'T: Forget to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours a day
Clear aligners is only a good option for those who are able to ensure that they stick to the treatment plan and ensure that they keep the aligners on as often as possible. You’ll need to wear them for 22 hours each day for your treatment to work as prescribed and your orthodontic issue to be successfully resolved.
So, don’t forget to put your aligners back in each time you take them out to eat, drink, brush, floss or do activities such as playing sports or practicing a musical instrument.
DON'T: Utilize a toothbrush or toothpaste to clean your teeth
Cleaning your aligners is a very important step but you should never use regular toothpaste and a toothbrush on your aligners as these could leave scratches and damage them. Instead, soak them in a special solution meant for clear aligners, denture cleaner or rinse them with water.
DON'T: Skip brushing and flossing your teeth before you put your aligners back on
While you should always be consistent with cleaning your teeth this becomes even more important once you are wearing clear aligners, as any bacteria or food particles will be caught between your teeth and your aligners until the next time you brush.
That’s why you’ll want to brush and floss your teeth before each wear, and every time after you eat or drink anything other than water.
DON'T: Eat or drink substances that could stain your aligners
Coloured drinks such as pop, wine and fruit smoothies will stain the clear, transparent plastic of your aligners which can be incredibly unsightly and irreversible.
If you want to drink any beverages other than water, you’ll need to remove your aligners, drink up while ensuring that you still have your clear aligners on for at least 22 hours of the day and brush and floss your teeth before putting your clear aligners back in.
DON'T: Miss any visits with your dentist
While clear aligners do not require the same constant tightening as traditional braces do, you will still need routine checkups to ensure that treatment is going well.
During these visits you will be able to speak with your dentist to ask any questions, address concerns about your treatment, and make sure you are on track to complete your treatment successfully and on time, or adjust the course if needed.